Tiny home to provide second chance for Craven County man

Tiny home to provide second chance for Craven County man
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 5:37 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - There’s a common saying that “everyone deserves a second chance.” One man in Craven County is about to get his.

The home looks like an empty shell right now, but it’s a sign of a better future, thanks to the Home Transitional Network, a collaboration between New Bern nonprofit Wash Away Unemployment and local sponsors and volunteers. Work started on the house on Sept. 20 and is scheduled to finish on the 30th. They’re building it at 1004 Queen Street.

“We’re building four walls for people that face barriers into housing,” site director Corey Purdie said. “That’s maybe incarceration, prior incarcerations, any hurdle they may have encountered before that’s prevented them from getting permanent housing.”

The tiny home will soon belong to Kevin Smith. He’s one of many people who struggles to make a life for themselves because of their past.

Rosalie Calarco (left), sponsor of AARP Community Challenge, Kevin Smith (middle), home...
Rosalie Calarco (left), sponsor of AARP Community Challenge, Kevin Smith (middle), home recipient, Corey Purdie (right), site coordinator(WITN)

Volunteer William Pugh knows the feeling.

“I’ve done some time; I was incarcerated and when I came out, it was kind of difficult. So I understand from first-hand where these guys are coming from,” Pugh explained.

Crews are building the home in a lot on Queen Street in New Bern. It won’t stay here forever but will remain in Craven County. Volunteers say it’s meaningful, because of the major role housing plays in a person’s life.

“There’s all kinds of barriers that they face, and this is a serious attempt to help those folks get a hand up and get back into mainstream,” Gene Call said. He’s a retired builder who volunteered to use his skills to help the project move forward.

Smith’s home will be tailored to his needs, including being ADA compliant.

“I just wanna see the look on his face once he goes in there and he knows that it’s his,” Pugh said with a smile.

The work doesn’t stop here. Their goal is to finish three tiny houses by the end of the year.

“It is a core kind of happy and joy to know that we’re doing something that has some meaning to it,” Call said.

The tiny house build is being sponsored by AARP. It should be finished by the end of this week. There will be an open house on Oct. 8th.

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